Finding Nemo - The Musical

Florida Guide > Disney Parks

Animal Kingdom has not been the most popular of parks, although it is our favourite. I think it is the variety of things to do that makes it our number one park, but now it has an added attraction, the new ‘Finding Nemo’ musical show, which we think will soon become a firm favourite with families.

When we visited Disney at Christmas this show was not officially open, but we managed to catch a preview performance, and we are so glad we did. We love the ‘Lion King’ at Animal Kingdom, but this is a welcome addition which is located close to Dinoland, and on the right hand side, just before you get to Expedition Everest. You will find it in the ‘Theater in the Wild’, which has been newly enclosed and updated, and now seats 1500 people. The theatre is huge, and the stage area includes areas at the sides from which the actors and puppets operate. The show, itself, consists of 18 actors who hold large fish puppets, whose eyes and mouths are controlled by levers in the actors’ hands. From time to time, the actors actually fly across the stage, with their puppets.

The show tells the story of Nemo, whose dad, Merlin, a widower, anxiously takes him to school for the first time. Rather over-protective, as the result of Nemo’s mother Coral’s demise at the hand of a barracuda, Merlin’s worst fears are realised when Nemo, himself disappears. The story plots the journey of Merlin as he frantically searches for his only son, with the help, or hindrance, of a rather forgetful fish called ‘Dory.’ In order to enjoy the joke at her expense you need to remember that a fish, apparently, has a very short memory, little more than a second or two, so she continually forgets what they are there for and who Merlin is. With a few adventures on the way, this beautifully scripted show finds Nemo captured by human divers, and eventually trying to escape from the aquarium at the dentist’s office. Of course, there is a happy ending, with father and son reunited at last, after a dangerous and fraught journey across the ocean, aided and abetted by various sea creatures and birds they meet on their way.

It is amazing how the show is so enthralling that you really don’t notice the actors. One of the cleverest puppets has to be the huge Mr Ray, which is supported by an actor on a sort of bicycle contraption. Mr Ray wafts over his head like a giant umbrella. It is a charming story, with beautiful new songs, and you cannot but warm to the addlebrained ‘Dory’ as she and Merlin search for the lost Nemo. My favourite song has to be ‘Fish are friends not food’ sung by a little band of rather confused sharks. It is colourful, beautifully constructed, and utterly charming. The delightful songs add to the enjoyment, and the costumes and puppets are wonderful.

It is certainly on our ‘to do next’ list. A good tip is NOT to go for the front seats, but to try and get towards the back, in the centre. The front seats will not give you a good view as you will be too close to really appreciate the show, which utilises the whole area including the sides. You will also not truly appreciate the puppets if you are too close, and will miss many of the actions which take place from the side.

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